Guadua Angustifolia Kunth (Guadua) is a tropical species of bamboo endemic to South and Central America and widely used as a mainstream material for construction in Colombia. Its rapid rate of biomass production, renewability, high level of CO2 fixation and storage, wide diameter, long-length, and durability are distinctive and highly desirable features which can benefit the new built environment Research interest in Guadua construction increased significantly after many Guadua-constructed buildings withstood or suffered only minor damage during an earthquake which reached 6.2 on the Richter scale in 1999, resulting in the standardization of Guadua in the seismic-resistant Colombian code (NSR, 2010).
However, Guadua buildings constructed in the Americas and other parts of the world, whilst considered to be sustainable, are not fully characterised in terms of the preparation, use and disposal of Guadua. Furthermore, workability, building durability and the construction process have not been specifically documented and evaluated. The structure, properties and availability of Guadua are described in this paper. A case study on a recently built holiday house is presented illustrating the architectural, structural, environmental and technical performance of a Guadua building. The paper presents the construction process, discusses difficulties encountered during the building life cycle and highlights the need for similar assessments. It is concluded that with the aim of achieving a low carbon construction system using Guadua bamboo, challenges regarding manufacture, bio-deterioration, integration with conventional systems, and environmental impacts must be addressed.